Campus green with energy
Group eyes garden, pool
With many successful projects under their belt, UNC students are continuing to push for more green energy resources on campus.
Members of UNC's Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee - a group devoted to promoting environmentally friendly energy on campus - said they currently are exploring several project ideas.
One of RESPC's proposed undertakings is the installation of solar panels to heat Kessing Outdoor Pool - located between Woollen Gymnasium and Carmichael Residence Hall.
The addition of a solar hot water system would extend the use of the pool into the cooler autumn months, said Cindy Pollock Shea, UNC's sustainability coalition coordinator.
The pool now is open for recreational use from mid-May until mid-September. Shea said the new system would keep the facility open from spring break until October.
"Kessing is so appealing because it would provide a real new amenity for students," she said. "Most UNC students only get to use it for a few weeks a year."
Shea said she hopes the system will provoke dialogue about green energy.
"(It's) right smack dab in the middle of campus, where a lot of people will see it," she said. "We're hoping there will be a lot of conversation about the technology."
Shea said that while the project still is in the planning stages, the system might be up and running as soon as summer 2006.
Senior Jessica Potter, a member of the committee, said RESPC also might support a particular aspect of the N.C. Botanical Garden's proposed visitor's education center.
The center will adhere to standards promoted by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating system, Shea said. The system is a voluntary national standard for developing sustainable buildings.
Shea said the center is still in the planning stages and likely won't be completed for a few years.
Members of RESPC also have pushed for green energy in campus buildings like Morrison Residence Hall. A solar hot water system will be in place following the building's renovation.
The committee was created in April 2003 after UNC students approved a $4 per semester increase in student fees to support a renewable energy campaign on campus. The fee will fund at least part of all the RESPC construction projects.
Potter said the projects can help set an example for other schools and demonstrate that sustainable energy projects are practical investments.
"I think Chapel Hill is a landmark university for a lot of things in research, especially in green energy," she said. "We're trying to show that green energy is feasible."
Graduate student Cameron Morgan, a member of the committee, said student efforts demonstrate the impact that can be made on college campuses.
"It's very significant that students are becoming so involved in these projects," he said. "(It) shows that they can be at the forefront of issues like renewable energy."
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